The Victims of the Montecito Mudslides

Montecito is one of the most affluent communities in the world. It is beautiful. It is devoid of strip malls and chain restaurants. It is nestled in the foothills of incredible nature and wildlife that include peaks almost 4000 feet tall and the ocean stretching out to the Channel Islands. It frustrates me that such a community would disregard the evacuation warnings when the rains were so clearly forecast to come. The mudslides in Montecito were predicted.

I watched a press briefing held on the Friday before the floods that accurately stated the potential of the upcoming storm. They stated that this situation is not like the Thomas Fire where you may have hours to leave the area. They said you may have 10 minutes or less to get to safety.

I spoke to my father-in-law, who lives in Des Moines, IA, about the severity of the situation mere hours before the rain was expected to be heaviest because I didn’t want him to be worried by the news reports that seemed so likely to come. (I do live in Santa Barbara County.) But only 10-15% of Montecito residents felt the warning was worth taking seriously despite the press briefings, news reports, weather forecasts, the alerts on cell phones of almost all Santa Barbara County residents, and the sixty people that did door to door evacuation warnings for five hours on Monday.

I don’t live in Montecito, but I do live in Santa Barbara County. I am very familiar with the area from years of living within miles on Montecito and spending my free time running some of my favorite trails that lie in the front country of the Camino Cielo ridgeline, many of which were burned in the Thomas Fire. I can’t help but feel a connection with the area even though I have no direct connection with the people that live there. Tonight, I found a Los Angeles Times article titled “Who they were: The victims of the Montecito mudslides.” It is the most heart-wrenching and sad article I have read. This is a tragedy, not because it is one of the most affluent communities in the world or because it is such a beautiful location, but because it was an avoidable situation that affected real human beings. Some of those human beings spent their time making their community and the surrounding communities a better place. Some were too young to ever have that chance. Now they are gone.

The German Shepherd and the Incoming Rain

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Once again, I was trying to time my run to hit the worst of the rain today. But the forecast kept changing. I finally decided on a late daylight run.

It still wasn’t raining when I started, but I could see a wall of rain moving in to the north. I hoped it would move toward our direction. So the C dog and I headed out for a minimum of five miles. A light drizzle started as we climbed the ridge. There was a bit fo wind kicking up too.

About 3.5 miles in, the rain started coming down a little more. I think you could actually call it rain at that point. C dog has never been in heavy rain, so I was interested how he would react. But he really didn’t. He continued on like nothing was different. And his fur really didn’t take on water like our first dog, Heather. She would get saturated and would be shaking constantly. But C dog was like a duck.

It was so enjoyable running in the rain, that I extended the run another mile. I’m not sure C dog appreciated it, but it wasn’t his decision. And he always needs the exercise. We finished the run very wet. When C dog jumped in the back of the car, he didn’t even shake like every other dog I have ever seen in my life. He simply laid down on his bed and crossed is front paw in a dignified way. It was great.

I didn’t get the downpour I was hoping for, but it was really enjoyable. I hope to have more rain runs like this in the upcoming months.

Three Peaks in the Clouds

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I wanted to run the Cuesta Ranch 14 Mile Trail Run today, but I didn’t want to pay the $120 that I didn’t really plan for. And that’s a tough run with lots of climbing. So instead, I decided to do my own tough 14 miler with lots of climbing at MDO.

Everything was cool and socked in with fog when I started. It was really nice, but it just continued to get nicer as I began the climbing. Clouds were interlaced with the hills and rolling over ridges and down canyons. It was really amazing. When I got to Oates Peak, I turned away from the ocean toward Alan Peak. That turned out to be quite a bit further back than I remembered it. After reaching Alan, I headed back down to Oates and then to the top of Valencia Peak. By that time, the clouds had mostly cleared from the ocean and tendrils of fog were still sitting in the canyons and around the peaks as I looked north toward Morro Rock and San Simeon. Just beautiful.

And the run felt great the entire time. It was tough, but I wanted tough. The legs felt good. The lungs felt good. It was a rejuvenating run.

Update: After looking at the map of the run, it looks like I didn’t make it to Alan Peak. That is surprising because, as I mentioned above, I didn’t think it was as far as I went today. So, it also makes me question if I have ever made it to Alan Peak. The trail was very overgrown between Oates and my turn around, and it completely disappeared where I turned around. Although I never saw a USGS marker, I kinda thought Alan Peak was just too insignificant to get a marker. Oh well. I got in my fourteen miles. Maybe I can try for Alan later. That peak doesn’t take away from todays run.

2017 Running Year in Review

This is a quick recap of my running year put together by Strava. It is always nice to see those numbers all added up. But it is also a little disappointing since it should have been a better year. On to 2018!

Great Run to Start the Year

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I headed out late in the afternoon for a five miler. I purposely timed it as the sun was setting and brought my headlamp. There were a lot of people around when I started but almost nobody left when I finished. The run was feeling really good, so I pushed my speed a bit. Then in the last mile and a half, I came to the top of the ridge to see a big yellow supermoon rising through the clouds. It was beautiful. I extended my run for an extra mile, it was feeling so good. Very happy to start the year off this way.

I now see a few a Strava challenges that I’m going to shoot for in January and in 2018. I have high hopes that I can have a better year this year.

How to Crush Trump

Excellent read today from Ryan Cooper at The Week in How to Crush Trump:

“Mainstream Republicans and the conservative movement produced Trump, and they will continue to protect him so they can keep looting the country. Republican lawmakers are the problem. They must be stopped. And there’s only one way for liberals to do it: Vote. Win. Govern.”

Who Has Trump Attacked in 2017?

Anyone that continues to support this chump does have their head on straight. Trump has no class, no morals, no loyalty, no trustworthiness, no common sense, no originality, and worst of all, no plan for the country he’s supposedly governing. This guy is trash on every level.

Christmas Evening Five

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The German Shepherd and I headed out to Santa Maria Mesa Rd. for a run through the vineyards before finishing up the Christmas dinner cooking. It was another perfect time to run. It was cool, but not cold. No wind. Very few cars on the road. The sunset was amazing, and everything felt good. After the run, we both just sat for a few minutes soaking in the surroundings. I love runs like this.

Hazard Peak and Lots of Sand

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It was a chilly morning, but it turned out to be an absolutely perfect day to run. Skies were clear, trails were not crowded, and there was no wind. Today, I did a little exploring after climbing Hazard Peak and heading to East Boundary Trail. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake. When I reached the Cable Line Trail, the trail turned into a brutal sand slog for near four miles. At least it was pleasant to be in the eucalyptus forest. When I reached the Hiedra Trail again, I still had some mileage to do, so I headed back up the Hazard Peak Trail for about a mile before turning around. Great run. Besides the sand section, it felt really good.

Short Run on the Shortest Day of the Year

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I was really hesitant to get out there today because it was so damn cold. For half the day, there was a cold, stiff wind blowing that is really unpleasant. But the bottom line is that I had not been out for a run since Monday, and the German Shepherd needed some exercise.

So we headed out with my medium weight windbreaker in the dark. It wasn’t really that bad, and I actually felt ok most of the run besides a runny nose. Of course, the place was empty because nobody wants to be out in that stuff, so C Dog could be off leash. I always keep my eyes out for coyotes ever since the Pt. Sal encounter. Every time the dog ended up running behind me, after a few seconds, I would have to look back to make sure he was there. One time, he wasn’t! Luckily, I think he was just taking a bit of a pee, and he came running back. It probably wouldn’t have been such a pain if I didn’t have my headphones in, but I wouldn’t have heard anything if he was pulled away somehow.

But nothing happened. We got in a solid and quick 5k. It was cold. It was not pleasant. But it was done.